Huddersfield Town Centre’s shop fronts will soon look the business after Kirklees Council approved a £1.2million plan to spruce them up.
The scheme, approved by Kirklees Council’s Cabinet on 19 February, 2019, aims to refurbish and replace inappropriate shop fronts, create new uses for upper floors in buildings and remove illegal or poorly-designed signage.
Grnts will be made available to traders in the Huddersfield Town Centre Conservation Area. There will be a specific focus on historic areas, including John William Street, Westgate and Northumberland Street.
This comes after an inspection found the appearance of some shop fronts were having a negative impact on business. It will mirror a similar scheme the council is currently rolling out in Dewsbury Town Centre.
An audit of the area is to now be carried out to identify which buildings could benefit from investment.
The average grant could be between 50 per cent and 80 per cent of the total costs of refurbishment, replacement shop fronts and the conversion of upper floors to new uses.
Kirklees Council will also be working to secure match funding for the grants from other funding bodies such as the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic England and the Architectural Heritage Fund.
Cllr Peter McBride, Cabinet Member for Economy, said: “This is fantastic news and will help us to deliver on our commitment to strengthening our local economy.
“It’s true that this particular area in Huddersfield Town Centre is in need of some improvement.
“If we want a thriving local economy we need to look like we mean businesses. Unsightly shop fronts not only put off customers but they might also be preventing other investors from setting up shop here.
“We have a genuine commitment and ambition to deliver and maintain a thriving local economy and this investment is just one example of how we’re going to achieve this.”
The decision has been applauded by the Huddersfield Civic Society, whose Chairman, David Wyles, said: “Owners and tenants of shops and businesses need to appreciate that good design means good business. Visual improvements will not only attract more visitors but more investment.”